Monday 26 February 2018

Star Wars premiere: Carrie Fisher makes Oscars plea

Actors in Star Wars character costumes attending the Star Wars: The Force Awakens European premiere
Actors in Star Wars character costumes attending the Star Wars: The Force Awakens European premiere
Mark Hamill has hardly been seen in the trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars creator George Lucas poses with former Hear'Say singer Myleene Klass at the premiere
Daisy Ridley was escorted to the premier by stormtroopers
BB-8 is tipped to be the big fans' favourite from the latest instalment
They may be out of costume, but Peter Mayhew and Harrison Ford still look like a formidable piar
Carrie Fisher with her dog Gary on the red carpet
Fans with lightsabers flocked to the premiere
Harrison Ford signs autographs for fans
Despite not appearing in the film, Darth Vader attended the premiere

Carrie Fisher has called for blockbusters like the new Star Wars movie to receive more recognition from the Oscars as she joined the film's cast and creators at the European premiere in London.

The American actress, who has reprised her role as Princess Leia, joined fellow original stars Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill along with British newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley in London's Leicester Square.

Critics have hailed Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens as a tour de force to rival the original trilogy and Fisher, who was joined on the red carpet by her French bulldog Gary, was full of praise for the film.

Asked whether the movie should be nominated for an Academy Award for best picture, she replied: "This is a really, really good film. I don't think they give films like this as much recognition as they should.

"Some are really well made and they're fun to look at and this is a great story."

Star Wars creator George Lucas and the new film's director and co-writer JJ Abrams joined a host of stars at the highly anticipated London premiere.

Lucas, who created the franchise in 1977, said: "All of the premieres have always been in London. It's like coming home to an event we've done for the last 40 years but this was the biggest by far."

Abrams said he was struck every day while filming by how lucky he was to be working on the movie.

And he praised newcomers Ridley and Boyega, saying: "These are two incredible actors, watching them together is amazing."

Ford, who reprises his role as intrepid traveller and smuggler Han Solo, said he hoped Star Wars fans would enjoy the movie.

"I think it's a worthy effort," he said. "I'm very proud of it, thank you."

Ridley, who plays the film's heroine Rey, shouted out to her fans on the red carpet, saying: "May the force be with all of you."

She said being at the premiere was "particularly special because I'm from London, it's good to be home".

British actor Boyega, who plays Finn in the new movie, could not contain his excitement at being in London.

"I'm a boy from Peckham and I'm in a Star Wars movie," he said, before adding: "I'm here to celebrate, dammit."

Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, said he was overwhelmed.

"It never gets old, it's hard to believe the excitement after all of these years," he said.

He added that he had a "very special affinity" for London, revealing his son was born here while he filmed The Empire Strikes Back.

Before the film's stars arrived at the event, a group of stormtroopers from the First Order opened the red carpet.

They were followed by droids R2-D2 and C-3PO, who ambled down taking in the scenery, and the newest droid BB-8, who got a cheer from fans as it rolled down the red carpet.

Actor Warwick Davis, who starred in a few of the earlier Star Wars films and the latest one, could not resist posing for a selfie with BB-8 on the red carpet.

Other stars of the film walking the red carpet included Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson and Gwendoline Christie.

Many fans at the event arrived in fancy dress, while dozens were carrying red and blue lightsabers which were handed to them as they arrived.

The film - which is set for general release on Thursday - has already made UK box office history, selling more than half a million tickets for its opening week at one cinema chain alone.

The seventh instalment in the Star Wars series comes 10 years after the last film and reunites the original trio who were absent from the prequels.

British fans with tickets for the first UK screenings will get a head start over devotees in the US, where the movie is not released until Friday.

Press Association

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